Head and neck cancers (HNC), 90% of which are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), rank sixth among all malignancies worldwide and comprise 40–50% of the total number of malignancies in India. In addition to alcohol and tobacco usage, which is the major source of oral carcinogens, viruses such as human papilloma virus (HPV) may also contribute to development of the malignancy. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of HPV in head and neck cancers using material from metastatic site.
A total of 111 cases of neck nodal metastases were included in this study. The primary was identified as oral cavity, oropharynx and nasopharynx. In a subset, the primary remained “unknown.” Polymerase chain reaction was carried out to detect HPV DNA on the fine needle aspirates.
HPV was detected in 32.4% cases. Maximum positivity was observed in metastases from primary in the oral cavity (47.1%) with tongue (55%), followed by oropharynx (25%) and nasopharynx (5%) cases. In the unknown primary group, HPV was detected in 52.9% cases.
Study defines the association of HPV with HNC in population of northern India. There was varied association of HPV depending on site of primary tumor arising in mucosal surfaces of head and neck region. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.